Irritable bowel syndrome consulters in Zhejiang province: the symptoms pattern, predominant bowel habit subgroups and quality of life.World J Gastroenterol 2004; 10(7):1059-64WJ
To investigate the pattern of symptoms, predominant bowel habits and quality of life (QOL) by the Chinese version of the SF-36 in irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) consulters in Zhejiang province.
From January 2001 to January 2002, 662 Roma II criteria-positive IBS patients were enrolled by gastroenterologists in 10 hospitals from Digestive Disease Center of Zhejiang (DDCZ). Patients were classified into constipation predominant IBS (IBS-C), diarrhea predominant IBS (IBS-D) and alternating constipation and diarrhea IBS (IBS-A) according to the predominant bowel habits. All patients were evaluated for the demographic checklists, IBS bowel symptoms, extra-colonic symptoms, and QOL by Chinese version of the SF-36 questionnaire.
(1) Besides abdominal pain, the predominant colonic symptoms were in order of altered stool form, abnormalities of stool passage, abdominal distension and passage of mucus in IBS patients. Also, IBS subjects reported generalized body discomfort and psychosocial problems including dyspeptic symptoms, poor appetite, heartburn, headache, back pain, difficulty with urination, fatigue, anxiety and depression. (2) IBS-C and IBS-A are more common among female patients, whereas male patients experienced more cases of IBS-D. In regards to the IBS symptoms, there were significant differences among IBS subgroups. Abdominal pain (frequency > or =2 days per week and duration > or =1 hour per day) was frequent in IBS-A patients (P=0.010 and 0.027, respectively), IBS-D patients more frequently experienced the passage of mucus, dyspeptic symptoms and anxiety (P=0.000, 0.014 and 0.015, respectively). (3) IBS patients experienced significant impairment in QOL, decrements in QOL were most pronounced in vitality, general health, mental health, and bodily pain. Compared with the general population (adjusted for gender and age), IBS patients scored significantly lower on all SF-scales (P<0.001), except for physical function scale (P=0.149). (4) QOL was impaired in all subgroups, particularly in scales of vitality, general health and mental health. Compared with IBS-D, QOL in IBS-C scored significantly lower on physical function, role physical, general health, role emotional, and mental health scales (P=0.037, 0.040, 0.039, 0.005 and 0.026, respectively).
Besides colonic symptoms, IBS could cause generalized body discomfort and psychosocial problems. The IBS subgroups based on predominant bowel habits are helpful to identify clinical distinction of the IBS. QOL is significantly impaired in IBS patients. The Chinese version of the SF-36 health survey scales may be a useful measurement of IBS patients.